1953 - 1973

Pythodd Club

One man leans over to have a cigarette lit. A man on his right is playing an upright bass,
Pee Wee Ellis (tenor) and Ron Carter (bass) play a set at the Pythodd Club. Date unknown, courtesy of the Paul Hoeffler "Rochester Jazz" Photographic Collection
A quintet or sextet plays before a crowd of seated patrons at the Pythodd Club. A tenor saxophonist is soloing.
The Mangione Brothers' group plays a set. Photo circa 1959, courtesy of the Paul Hoeffler "Rochester Jazz" Photographic Collection
Ridge Crest

Part-legend, part-enigma, the Pythodd Club lives on today as the pride of the Corn Hill District and as Rochester’s best remembered jazz club. Formerly located at 159 Troup Street, the building was originally dual headquarters for the Knights of Pythias and the Odd Fellows, hence the club’s seemingly nonsensical name. The club itself, however, was anything but nonsensical: owner Stanley Thomas Jr. prided his club on its wide range of patrons, and frequent guest Gap Mangione remarked that the club was “like a neighborhood bar” where local musicians played “straight-ahead jazz” for an often-familiar audience. Despite the Pythodd not getting as big of names as Squeezer’s or The Ridge Crest Inn— though many Rochestarians insist that Stevie Wonder once played an impromptu set— the club’s centrality within its community assured that its memory lived on long after its demolition in the early 70s. The site of the Pythodd Club is now a parking lot.

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